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20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of Unwritten Law

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Album Review

Unwritten Law's entry into the 20th Century Masters series raises a few questions (not to mention eyebrows), particularly: huh? Never mind that the packaging looks more fitting for the Steve Miller Band, but when did San Diego's Unwritten Law become, according to the liner notes, "one of the most durable and musically flexible — and one of the most popular" pop-punk bands to come out of the '90s? They appeared during the nationwide boom that spawned peers blink-182, Face to Face and MxPx, among countless others, so okay, they've been around for over a decade now, which is a lifetime in pop-punk terms. The band has arguably always been the most alternative pop leaning of the skatepunk bunch, though "musically flexible" hardly seems appropriate. And somehow, it always seemed that Unwritten Law's success paled in comparison to that of the aforementioned bands — even that of the respected Face to Face, whose group of underground fans were much more fiercely loyal despite their never being on TRL. But somehow, someone somewhere decided that Unwritten Law needed a Millennium Collection installment, alongside the likes of KISS, the New York Dolls, and Sublime. Don't misunderstand; Unwritten Law is a good band that has produced some very good songs (1998's self-titled album had scarcely a bad song on in), so this isn't an attempt to discredit them. But this compilation seems forced and unnecessary, wholly trying to make the band seem much more important than they really are in the grand scheme of rock & roll. The track selection only consists of cuts from their two records with Interscope — the aforementioned self-titled effort and their 2002 mainstream breakout, Elva — despite having five full-length albums to their name (excluding the acoustic Music in High Places). But those are their two best albums and Interscope is responsible for this collection, so that probably explains it. Together, the 12 songs are admittedly a solid display of Unwritten Law highlights, but it's pretty much the equivalent of putting both of those records on shuffle and skipping past half-a-dozen tracks along the way. Point being, save your money. The band is sure to put out its own greatest-hits collection at some point (which will hopefully be a more comprehensive view of its career) and may even throw in some unreleased/acoustic/live tracks to make it really worth the purchase. As for this, the music is unquestionably fun, but this collection is little more than a label cash-in.

Customer Reviews

Don't Buy This!!!

This album was released by the band's old label to pre-empt a "best of" album (due to be released soon) that UL has been working on with their new label, which will also include a couple of new songs... so you might as well wait for the one one that the band actually endorses!!!


If your a new UL fan and don't have any of the CD's then this would be for you. If you have some of the older CD's then wait!! The band has been recording all of their hits all over again and making a best of with some new songs in there also.




Formed: 1990 in Poway, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Veteran San Diego, California punk rock band Unwritten Law was formed in the early 1990s by drummer Wade Youman. After a few different iterations in their lineup, the group eventually coalesced around vocalist Scott Russo, guitarists Rob Brewer and Steve Morris, bassist John Bell, and Youman. After releasing their debut, Blue Room, on Red Eye Records, Unwritten Law toured America several times but grew frustrated by the lack of distribution of their records. The band eventually signed to Epic, which...
Full Bio
20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of Unwritten Law, Unwritten Law
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